The Wild West, rolling sand dunes, and dusty roads are three of the things that come to my mind when I think of old abandoned towns. But not every forgotten town was part of that time. Some of them were destroyed during natural disasters. Others simply ran out of resources and their economy tanked. While you may think you should skip over these towns filled with overgrown weeds and rundown buildings, a few of them are worthy of a visit.
Bodie is an abandoned town located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. This was a bustling town back in the late 1800s thanks to the discovery of gold. At one time, approximately 10,000 people lived in Bodie. The main street was lined with stores and saloons. They even had their own daily newspaper. By the early 1900s, less than 100 people remained in Bodie. It was one of the first times the words “ghost town” was used to describe an abandoned town.
Bodie is now known as Bodie State Historic Park. As you wander around this old town, you will find yourself looking into windows of old homes and stores. The store shelves are still stocked with items that were for sale when the town completely shut down. Desks covered with piles of books are still in place in the school too. This is an amazing location if you want to see what life was like all those years ago.
Back in the early 1900s, Villa Epecuén was the place to take a luxurious vacation in Argentina. People would take the train from Buenos Aires to soak in the mineral rich waters of Lake Epecuén. A major storm destroyed this area in 1985. The entire village was submerged in the water that escaped from the lake when the dam broke.
Over the next couple of decades, the water finally receded to reveal destroyed buildings. Nowadays, you can wander around this once spectacular resort and imagine how it looked when it was at its best.
The Mughal Empire was a formidable empire more than 400 years ago. This people lived in the area of Mandu in India. However, once the Mughal Empire deserted Mandu, the structures were left for ruin. Mandu is now on the UNESCO list. Therefore, the mosques, Jain temples, sultan’s palaces, and mausoleums are being preserved for future generations.
A trip to Mandu may have you experiencing the peace and tranquility of this abandoned town. But the population of Mandu grows every year during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. This festival is held for 10 days during the months of August and September.
Many travelers like yourself choose to visit areas like Florence, Rome, and Tuscany when on vacation in Italy. But a visit to the abandoned town of Craco will have you going back in time to when this was a bustling area. Craco’s history began back in the 8th century. A university was erected in Craco during the 1200s. The 1300s brought the construction of a castle. Growth in Craco continued into the 19th century.
And then the landslides, floods, and earthquakes began in the region. This medieval town could not handle all the natural disasters. Craco now has an abandoned town status. You must take a tour to enter the locked gates and wander through the now empty streets. While you can visit at any time of the year, you may prefer to be there when one of the religious festivals are taking place.
People from Germany arrived in the town of Kolmanskop back in the early 1900s to mine for diamonds. They constructed a replica German town, complete with a butcher, baker, and post office. No outsiders were allowed into Kolmanskop, because the locals did not want anyone else to find any of the diamonds.
However, no more diamonds were available by the 1920s, so the town quickly became abandoned. The winds brought in sand from the Namib desert, essentially covering the buildings. I recommend visiting now to see the remains of the town before the sand covers it completely.
Just off the coast of Crete is a small island called Spinalonga. So, I guess this is an abandoned island instead of an abandoned town. The Venetians built a fort on this island in the 1500s. The Ottomans banished the Venetians from the island approximately 200 years later. And the early to mid-1900s brought a leper colony to the island.
Seeing the massive walls, churches, and fortresses on this abandoned island is a must. But the thing that will take your breath away is the views of Crete when you are visiting the Spinalonga Fortress.
The abandoned town of Humberstone can be found near the northern section of the Atacama Desert. This old mining town was developed back in the late 19th century. More than 3,000 people called this town home, as white gold was mined. The town’s population began to dwindle after World War II started. No one remained in the town by 1958.
The abandoned town is now part of Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, which is an UNESCO listed site. Amongst all the rundown buildings are forgotten cars and locomotives, as well as a swimming pool constructed from a ship’s hull.
These are the seven abandoned towns that are waiting for you to explore. Each one offers new experiences and discoveries.
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